When I turned forty years old, I decided it was time to get married. Actually, I had been in a serious relationship for over eighteen years, and my fortieth birthday just felt right. But having a traditional white wedding dress and a million relatives just didn’t seem like the thing to do at my stage in life. So, we decided to elope.
Elopement is a tradition in my family. My grandfather eloped in the nineteen thirties, taking a trip to Niagra Falls with his brother as his witness. Mine had even less people; me, my fiancé and the sheriff, along with his secretary who sweetly gave us a copy of the traditional wedding vows in calligraphy on pretty paper.
Is elopement for you? What are the advantages of elopement over a traditional wedding? What will you miss out on if you decide to elope?
Consider elopement if the following situations fit your life:
1) You are an “older” bride, and a large ceremony doesn’t appeal to you. Or, this isn’t your first marriage.
2) You and your husband don’t want a religious ceremony.
3) Your husband and you have different religions, and there isn’t one singular type of ceremony you can both agree too.
4) Your parents don’t agree with your marriage. You are not in a ‘traditional’ type of relationship.
5) A more creative kind of ceremony tickles your fancy. I know friends who have gotten married in hot air balloons, high above the mountains. Another friend was married on a river boat on the Mississippi. Don’t limit yourself to running to Vegas; there are many, many options when you decide to elope. All you need is a justice of the peace and maybe a witness or two, depending on the laws of your state.
In my case, all we needed to do was fill out paper work at the local town hall, then arrange for a justice of the peace. I was able to get the city sheriff to do the deed. We were married in the sheriff’s office in the fall, with late blooming roses in vases near the windows, and a steady stream of prisoners walking by. How romantic! Actually, it was touching. The sheriff took his job seriously and we did too. Other options where I live is a ceremony in the chapel of the hospital where I work, or even getting married during a fishing trip!
Elopement is NOT for you if:
1) You really want the whole dream wedding complete with flowing veil, white wedding gown and cute flower girls. You want to be the princess of the day.
2) You have been collecting “Brides” magazine for the last ten years.
3) Your family would be heartbroken if there wasn’t a party and ceremony that involved them.
4) A religious ceremony is important to you.
It is up to you and your future spouse what kind of wedding will suit you both. Elopement could be an option and a fun one at that!